Getting through a Divorce or Long-term Breakup

Normal and valid experiences:
• Overwhelming grief and sadness catches us off guard
• Emotional ups and downs lead us to feel like we are going crazy
• Concern with over-burdening our loved ones with our sadness and grief
• If you where the one who didn’t have a choice in ending the relationship you are left feeling powerless, betrayed, abandoned and sometimes resentful for not getting a chance to work it out
• Everything changes at once, including relationships with friends, in laws, moving, finances and changes in the family unit.
• The hopes and dreams we shared with our partner no longer exits, leaving many of us questioning who we are and where we are going.


1. Read the Book- Rebuilding: When your relationship ends, by Bruce Fisher
2. Watch out for isolation: force yourself to create weekly events to show up to (workouts, friends, classes )
3. Join a support group of people going through the same thing

Video Transcription

Hello, my name is Sevin Philips. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and I’ve been helping people walk through the process of divorce and long-term breakup for many years. I’ve also done a divorce support group for over three years.

There are some things I want to share with you if you are going through a breakup or a divorce that I think might help you understand and maybe even validate some of your experiences that you’re having. I also have some suggestions for you to take in order to heal.

One of the things that catches us off guard is the amount of grief and sadness. We’re not prepared for it, and it oftentimes can last longer than we ever thought it would. It’s normal and it happens to most people. And it does end whether you think it’s going to end for you or not.

One of the things that’s a byproduct of that is that sometimes we feel that we’re a burden to our family and friends because we’re sad so often and that tends to want to make us isolate.

Another thing is if you are the one that didn’t have the decision to end the relationship, you’re probably left feeling powerless that you didn’t have a choice. Maybe you’re resentful that you weren’t given the opportunity to work on the relationship.

It offers us a really unique position to heal. Most likely, it’s hit you in that soft spot of feeling betrayed or abandoned. These are just some of the elements that need to be talked about in healed.

Another factor that most people who haven’t been through this don’t understand is it’s not just the end of the relationship that you’re facing. Everything is changing. You’re moving, finances have changed, your relationships to some of your friends are changing and if you have children, the family unit is changing. Everything is changing all at once. It’s very disorienting.

Another thing I feel is even if we can get over or accept that the relationship is over, sometimes we’re still grieving the loss of the hopes and dreams we had for our lives. These oftentimes outlive the grief for the person that we’re in a relationship with and it leads us to this question of “Who am I now and where am I going?”

Eventually in the process, you need to address “What do I do next? Who am I? What do I want to do with my life?”

These are all just ideas that I have of things that are normal to come up in a divorce process. One suggestion to heal is a book. It’s called “Rebuilding.” It’s by Bruce Fisher and it’s an excellent roadmap that helps you understand the emotional process you’re going through.

The other is the tendency to isolate is pretty great. I’m suggesting that you push the envelope as much as possible and show up to things. Go work out, go walk to the beach, whatever it is that you do. Specifically on the days that you usually spend with your partner, book appointments in your calendar ahead of time every week during those days as much as possible with your friends to have things to look forward to. All great suggestions.

Lastly, join a support group. Check Craigslist, Find a good small group that’s led by a professional that’s a safe environment for you to be in that you can hear other people’s experiences. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see people maybe who are a little further along on the path and see “Wow, I can get there, too” or even see people who are newer on the path and know “Wow, I’ve come a long way.” It’s an amazing place to feel safe. It’s the one place you can go once a week where you don’t have to act, or pretend or do anything. You can just be who you are and everybody understands it.

I hope this helps and I’m wishing you well.

By, Sevin Philips MFT